Traveling abroad can be very adventurous and fun especially if you have that adventurous side in you. However, traveling abroad with kids is a different kind of story. It can be very stressful to both parents and children. But, this does not mean that you have to limit your travels to where you can bring your car, or within the limits of your community. You certainly have all the rights to go out there and enjoy the fruits of your own labor. For you to enjoy your vacation abroad with kids, are some tips that may help you achieve just that.
- You have to be realistic. If you are planning a 10-mile hike to enjoy the beauty of the Great Wall in China, then you are out of your mind. You should know that your kids will not be able to keep up with your energy or walk that long or be out with the elements that long especially in a strange environment. This may go well if you carry strollers with you, but that doesn’t sound so practical. If you really want to travel abroad with fun and enjoyment in mind, then you should plan it according to what your kids can do. Try to keep it balanced.
- Plan and practice it. Before you start booking your ticket, make sure that you have emergency plans laid out for the most common family emergencies, like a child getting lost or being injured. It would help if you give your family members specific jobs to do when you are abroad. Who monitors who, and who does what. You can even tell your 18 months old son or daughter to always grab your hand whenever you are out. You can also tell your kids who to talk to when emergencies occur or which number to dial. Giving them a whistle to carry around would also help. But they might end up playing with it even when there’s no emergency.
- Keep your photos around. This will be very helpful especially if one of your kids have separated from you (but God forbid it happens). In times of panic, you will not be able to think straight and will not be able to provide the authorities what they want to know in terms of how your kid look like or what they were wearing on the day it happened. One tip that is very useful is taking a photo of your kids before you go out for an adventure on a daily basis. That would make things very current and accurate for you.
- Security and Blanket. Decide who will act as the security of your entire family or who will be the blanket when you travel. The “security” will be the one to get in line and buy tickets, talk to locals or tourist guides, or to keep an eye for any danger on the streets. The other parent will be the “blanket” of the entire family. This parent will be responsible for all the needs of the entire family. The “blanket” should know where each family member is, watch for any signs of a heat stroke or prevent one before it starts occurring, keep medicine and track which has been given, or mediate any family dispute. If you are a single parent, you can always ask your eldest child to be the blanket for your family.
- Be hands-on. If you are traveling with preschoolers or kindergarteners, make sure that they know that they should always hold your hand (at all times), especially when you are out and about exploring the area. Each kid should be told which parent to hold whenever you are out with the crowd. Children can easily get lost in a very crowded environment and it is for this reason that they should always be by your side holding your hands. Knowing which kid is holding whose hand will also let you know that your kid is present. Otherwise, each parent will assume that the kid is holding the other.
- Assign a place to meet. This is very helpful, especially if you are going to a new place. If by any chance, one of your kids get separated from you, then you would know where to look for as a place has been assigned when this kind of situation arises. This assigned place should be very visible and safe for anyone to be there. If you have a location map, give it to your child with the “X” mark on the spot where you are supposed to meet. This will help kind adults guide your child to that location.
The safety of your family should be a priority whenever you are traveling with kids abroad. With the tips above, it would be easier for you to plan, execute, and enjoy your vacation without worrying who does what. Enjoy your travels!